Each week we check in with hard rock and metal acts to get their pit stories from memorable live shows. Metal gigs may be home to intense moshing and shredding solos, but it's also a place where magic can happen and love can blossom. Of course, none of that will be happening in this week's pit stories.
Today we've got two stories of love gone wrong at metal shows from Unsu and Insain, which both signed to Kaotoxin Records earlier this year. First up is Unsu, with the following tale of a strip tease that ended up showing more than the audience was expecting:
Once there was a girl in the audience. She climbed on the stage and started to strip. She actually was a guy in fishnets, in fact. So, during the whole stong, I've played with his balls with the microphone. This actually was at the Lille WinterFest #1 in Lille and you can hear Micky screaming "Elle a une bite!," which translates in "Sha has a dick!" on the bonus live tracks of "The Filthy."
Vocalist Louis from Insain also had this story to share of missing a few not-so-subtle hints from a female fan: More...
Though many touring bands are starting to make inroads in China, with most of them bypassing government censors by way of venturing to the Middle Kingdom on tourist visas rather than foolishly attempting to secure an elusive performance visa, few metal bands from China are able to tour outside the country due to the government’s travel restrictions placed on the Chinese people.
“How can that be?” you might ask. “Chinese tourists are everywhere these days, spending RMB like they’re going out of style.” Well, what you might not know is that each and every one of these tourists is only allowed to become well-heeled because they’ve posted what is essentially a large cash bond that is meant to ensure their return to China. And as we all know, being in a metal band and the ability to post a large cash bond are pretty much mutually exclusive.
Getting out is made all the more difficult when you’re a musician playing what is regarded by many authorities in China as a dangerous and highly disruptive form of music. Hell, some bands in China even get banned by the government from playing in their own country, which is exactly what happened to Ordnance, a modern-era Sepultura-esque band from the capital. Ordnance drew the Communist Party’s ire for its overtly subversive lyrical content, and now can basically only perform in the guitar player’s own venue, 13 Club in Beijing. Freedom of expression? Not in Mao’s house.
As another case in point, Painkiller magazine, the nation’s top metal publication, has sponsored a national Wacken Open Air Battle for local bands for the past few years, with the winner gaining a spot at the venerable German festival to beat all festivals. However, in the history of this competition only one band has thus far managed to secure the right to travel outside China and make it to the fest, while the other winners have had to resign themselves to merely enjoying the pride of winning.
Luckily, though, none of this can stop us from reporting on some bands from China that are worth checking out, all of whom made an appearance at the 2012 rendition of the Wacken Battle. We’ll start in Beijing on this week’s installment of Unearthing the Metal Underground.
Ready to Die
Female-fronted five-piece Ready to Die plays an old school, filthy brand of death metal that would fit right on the Ibex Moon label alongside acts like Funerus, or decimating the stage at St. Vitus in New York with Disma. Taking cues from Obituary, Bolt Thrower, and other plodding death metal bands of similar, sludgy taste, Ready to Die is a band that places its focus on simplicity, opting for the one-punch knockout riff rather than the overwhelming jabs and slaps of abject technicality.
The band’s front woman has a growl that could rip the short and curlies off of any of her male counterparts, as can be heard on their lo-fi demo that’s currently streaming online. The production really captures the overall atmosphere of death metal’s early days. This band is one to watch in the Middle Kingdom, and yet another reason to wish that it could be easier for bands from China to actually tour outside their home country. More...
A few weeks ago, Sunday Old School took a look at Swedish progressive metal outfit Opeth, which was followed by suggestions to cover other prog metal bands such as Dream Theater. We’ll definitely touch on them and other big name prog metal bands soon, but before that happens, perhaps it would be wise to examine the band that influenced almost every progressive rock band going today. Unfortunately, we don’t cover Pink Floyd, so this week we’ll be looking at Rush instead. Rush was formed in 1968 by schoolmates Alex Lifeson (born Alexandar Zivojinovich) and John Rutsey, who played guitar and drums respectively, along with singing bass player Jeff Jones, who was replaced by Geddy Lee, another former schoolmate of Lifesons, soon afterwards. They performed regularly in their local scene before releasing their first single, a cover of the Buddy Holly track, "Not Fade Away," which performed poorly. After struggling to impress record companies, they decided to release their self-titled debut album themselves in 1974, which once again had lacklustre sales at first, until a radio station in Cleveland, Ohio got hold of the record and began playing the song, "Working Man" on a regular basis. The song struck a chord with working class rock fans and soon "Rush" was re-released in the United States through Mercury Records.
Due to problems with diabetes, Rutsey decided to leave the band for the sake of his health, eventually being replaced by Hamilton native, Neil Peart, whose first concert with the band was opening for Uriah Heep to an audience of 11,000. Peart also took over the role as chief lyricist and the next year, Rush released their second album, "Fly By Night," which was better received than their previous effort and peaked on the Billboard 200 at 113. They followed this with, "Caress Of Steel," which featured only five tracks and was a commercial and critical disappointment. Although the record company urged Rush to record more radio friendly music, they instead got to work on their most ambitious record at that point, which was released in April 1976 as, "2112." The album contained a twenty minute long title track split into seven parts and became their first Platinum album in Canada, eventually going on to be Triple Platinum in the United States. The success of, "2112," allowed the group to release their first live album, "All The World’s A Stage" a few months later. More...
This week Fuel From Hell offers up a new video, Ugly Kid Joe returns with “Devil’s Paradise” (as does the NEW Great White), and in the name of charity, a bonus SIXX:A.M. video makes an appearance. More...
Live shows are the backbone of the local music scene, but sometimes they are also host to the drama-laden, the dangerous, and the downright bizarre. Every week we get in touch with rock and metal bands to share their most memorable stories from live shows, and this week Spider Rockets tells a tale that's less brutal than many we've had before, but covers a constant problem at gigs: spilt beer and show-goers who have had a few too many.
We were performing in Berlin, Germany and there was this guy walking on the edge of the pit with a cup of beer. Turns out he was a bit too close to the action because next thing he was on his butt and his cup flew up in the air and he was showered with whatever had been in the cup. He jumped up, all wet, and was looking to go after whoever got him, but no one was paying attention. He was so angry! Later that night, we saw the same guy peeing against the building, so he must have gotten more beer to replace his flying brew.
Spider Rockets wants to be sure that everyone is ready to get "Bitten" with its new album on June 5th. To give the fans a taste of what they can expect on its new album, Spider Rockets is offering 10,000 free downloads of the new single “Scream.” Head over to this location and download your free mp3 now. More...
Let it never be said that heavy music only appeals to a small demographic. If it weren’t for four Rastafarian Black Sabbath fans, hardcore music wouldn’t be what it is today, and perhaps nor would heavy music in general. When the four young men from Washington D.C. discovered punk music, they would form a band that would influence thousands of others, with several of these becoming popular or influential acts themselves. Indeed, where would music be today without the Bad Brains?
The band originally formed as a jazz funk outfit named Mind Power in 1975 but their path was altered forever two years later when a friend introduced them to the punk rock sounds of the Sex Pistols and The Dickies amongst others. They soon became obsessed with the genre and changed their name to Bad Brains, inspired by the song, "Bad Brain" by The Ramones. Punk was not the only interest that gripped the four young men either. After witnessing a Bob Marley concert, they became enthralled by reggae music and the Rastafari movement. The groups original singer, Sid McCray left soon after the bands inception, and guitarist H.R. (Human Rights) took over the role as frontman. Their shows were notorious for their extremely high level of intensity and they became an influential force in the D.C. hardcore scene, particularly H.R. who claims he encouraged Ian MacKaye to spread the Straight Edge philosophy with his band Minor Threat and inspired Henry Rollins to join Black Flag. Such was the craziness of their live shows that they soon found themselves on the receiving end of an unofficial ban from many clubs in the D.C. area, and soon decided to relocate to New York. They were instantly accepted in New York and performed regularly at the legendary CBGBs club and with other young hardcore acts like Reagan Youth and the Beastie Boys (yes, those Beastie Boys.)
In January of 1982, the band finally released their first album, a self-titled effort available exclusively on cassette at first through ROIR Records. The album has since been hailed as one of the greatest albums in the history of punk and hardcore, if not the greatest. Its breathtaking blend of hardcore punk and reggae music made them stand out from their contemporaries, not least thanks to their obvious musical ability. They released their second album, "Rock For Light" the next year through PVC Records, and re-recorded several songs from their self-titled debut for the release, as well as including older songs such as "At The Movies" in addition to new material. More...
This week a group of reunited glam rockers, a band that has a “Fever,” and finally the return of Juliet’s Vice and their latest video.
Reunited New York rockers Grimm Jack explore the Hollywood lifestyles of Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and the other West Coast tabloid queens for the single “Damned.” The track appears on the band's recent three-song EP of the same name. Immediately we are greeted with “Lemmy” style cranium accessories and liberal use of “Sunset Strip” and “Hollywood” in their lyrics. This song would have been perfect back in the day if Hillbilly Jim and The Junkyard Dog had they ever wrestled as part of a WWF Wrestlemania event. Of course, if I remember correctly, both of these guys were “good guys” so that could never happen, but if it had (and this song was around) it would have been a perfect.
We've been on a mission to get every band's favorite pit stories from live shows, and this week The Dogs Divine shares the following story of an unexpected on-stage dance session:
In 2008 we were doing a show in Melbourne Florida...and this girl from the crowd in a really short skirt and extremely tight top gets on stage. At first she just kinda starts dancing in one place, shaking her hips kinda thing. Well there is this large group of Military MPs that are shipping out in the next day or so to Afghanistan, so they are getting their party on before they leave, well these guys really start encouraging this chick to give them a show.
So, next thing I know, while we are in the middle of a song I might add, she starts going into this choreographed type of moves, I mean it looked like it came out of that movie Flash Dance. I mean spins and kicks and jumping and just all over the stage, from one end to the other. So much so the guitarist and I kinda had to move as far back as possible and basically hug the amps to keep out of her way and avoid a collision.
So we finish the song and it was one of those spots in the set where we just would do a four count on the high hat and go right into another song. So she stays on stage and starts this routine again. So finally we finish the second song and ask her, or rather guide her of stage.
Be sure to check back in again next Tuesday as we continue to share more mosh pit stories.
Every Monday we take a break from the news to highlight three lesser known bands that deserve a moment in the spotlight and can help expand your metal horizons.
Last year we showcased three side projects from black metal icon Ihsahn, but there are plenty of musicians from throughout metaldom who have a host of additional projects outside their most well-known bands. This week we’ll take a look at bands covering a range of sounds from the members of Borknagar, Katatonia, and Samael that all show a different side than what fans may be expecting from their favorite musicians.
While many may be aware that Vintersorg from Borknagar has had his own self-titled, folk leaning and clean singing focused project for years, it’s not as well known that he was also involved in a folk metal project called Otyg prior to his solo releases.
Otyg had a very ‘90s, proto-metal feel as the musicians were starting to explore the boundaries of the genre, and is a must hear if you want to explore the roots of folk metal or are into the early works of bands like Amorphis or Borknagar. The band released two full-length albums titled “Älvefärd” and “Sagovindars Boning” before going on hold indefinitely. The music is a little on the lo-fi side and not quite as bombastic or epic as the intricately arranged folk and orchestra stuff that has come out of metal in the interim, but just listen to that atmosphere!
Slaughter was (and still is for some) a guilty pleasure. A band spawned from the eighties, Mark Slaughter and company enjoyed major, but brief success with both “heavy” tracks as well as the all important power ballad. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was always Slaughter!
Formed in Las Vegas, Slaughter came in at the height of the glam metal movement. Mark Slaughter (vocals/guitar) and Dana Strum (bass) from Vinnie Vincent Invasion started Slaughter and recruited guitarist Tim Kelly and drummer Blas Elias. In 1990 they released the album “Stick It to Ya,” yielding immediate success with singles “Up All Night”, “Fly to the Angels”, and “Spend My Life.” Soon after they recorded the song “Shout it Out” for the movie soundtrack, “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey,” once again receiving heavy airplay on the radio and video plays on MTV. More...
The Cult has released the official music video for their new single, "For The Animals," from their forthcoming album 'Choice Of Weapon.’ More...
Every Tuesday we share metal show mosh pit stories from bands and fans coming from every genre and corner of the globe. This week we have the following story from Illinois based act DaiTribe about a giant in the pit getting a taste of his own medicine:
Pits and stage diving has changed a lot in the last 20 yrs. First pit I saw was during my time in TX. Brutal and intense circles with a lot of surfing. Back then, you'd see them ignite like they'd been waiting all their lives to unleash and explode. I'd look out from the stage and see hundreds of kids having a great night. If someone got knocked down, someone would get picked up. The mosh pits would police themselves and everyone looked out for each other in the truest sense of brotherhood.
Fast forward to today where the spirit is there, it just seems like the outcome is very different. You see these giant guys in the center knocking down people half their size. The Brazilian style pits where the circle kicks rule and seems like most people aren't paying attention. Now, I took my hits back in the day, it was gonna happen. You might catch an elbow or a fist here and there but it wasn't intentional.
So, the funniest thing I ever saw was at a show and this girl had to be about five feet and it's the middle of the set. She's thrashing and holding her own and some giant guy who's at least a foot taller, goes against the pit and she lowers her head and nails him in the gut! At first I thought she'd knocked herself out cause she flew back about 4-5 feet before the pit caught her and put her upright again. I'd been watching this guy for a couple of songs and it was clear that he was way too out of it and just trying to hurt anyone he could. Coolest thing I saw all night cause she pretty much leveled him!
DaiTribe is out now with the new album "Epochalypse A.D." and recently released a new music video for the song "I Hate Me". You can also check out a track-by-track video for "Epochalypse A.D." at this location.
Check back in again next week for another dose of pit stories from fans and metal musicians.
We've done a Connecticut scene report before, but the volume of bands coming from this third-smallest U.S. state is incredibly big - so today it merits another look. Connecticut has a long history with metal music, due to the vast number of colleges and radio stations promoting the scene in the eighties and beyond. The Constitution state also has a rich hardcore history that ties in with the metal scene, which dates back prior to the existence of that legendary club The Anthrax in South Norwalk. The classic metal and hardcore shows played there became the subject of the book "Everybody's Scene: The Story of Connecticut's Anthrax Club," which was penned by Chris Daily. Check out that book trailer here. Even the fabulous Forced Reality (a band with members of the now disbanded Skeletal Ambitions) has reformed and is playing oi punk rock again, recently doing a few shows down south. More...
This past week, MetalUnderground.com has largely (and irritably for some,) been discussing the latest Opeth album, "Heritage," which has divided fans with its blend of seventies inspired prog rock. To understand why some fans are so upset about the direction, perhaps it would be best to take a look at the history of the group. Opeth was formed in 1990 in the Swedish capital by vocalist David Isbgerg and guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt after an argument with former band mates of Isbergs. They soon recruited bass player Nick Döring, drummer Anders Nordin and a second guitarist named Andreas Dimeo, though Dimeo and Döring left the group after their first performance. A number of lineup changes would follow, most notably the inclusion of guitarist Peter Lindgren (who originally joined as a bass player) and the departure of Isberg, with Åkerfeldt taking over vocal duties, in addition to keeping his role as a guitar player. They soon earned themselves a record deal with the then newly formed Candlelight Records and recorded their debut album, "Orchid" in the Spring of 1994, though due to distribution problems, it wouldn’t see a release until the next year. The album was positively received, with critics praising their blend of death metal with acoustic guitars and harmonies.
They soon followed "Orchid" with their sophomore effort, "Morningrise," which garnered even higher praise than "Orchid," allowing them to embark on a tour of the United Kingdom and a large Scandinavian trek with Cradle Of Filth. The growing interest in the band led them to sign with German label, Century Media, who released the groups first two albums in the United States (they had previously only been available in Europe.) Soon after the signing however, the band first parted with bassist Johan DeFarfalla, before splitting with Nordin, leaving Mikael Åkerfeldt as the sole original member. The first band first hired a new drummer named Martin Lopez before recording their third album, "My Arms, Your Hearse," which featured Åkerfeldt performing bass duties, though they soon found a permanent bassist in Martín Méndez. "My Arms, Your Hearse" continued Opeths tradition of releasing albums that were more acclaimed than their last, with many ranking it among their finest albums. More...
It’s Friday and we have new videos from I AM I, Dirty Glory, Jaded Heart, and a very special video clip from Dee Snider. More...
Every week we continue our ongoing quest to get the best pit stories from metal shows. This week Dying Fetus checked in with us to share the following story from the Metal Alliance tour about meeting the "chicken guy" at Sonar in Baltimore:
The Metal Alliance tour came to Baltimore at a club called Sonar. The tour had been going well and the pits were killer for our set. We all come from Maryland so playing Sonar was always a show to look forward to.
When ever you play at Sonar or in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area you see the chicken guy. I don’t know this guys name but I know his look. He wears a chicken costume to every show in the area. The chicken guy is killing it in the pit for all our shows. You cant miss the guy crowd surfing. This guy even gets applause from the crowd. Way to be chicken guy cant wait to see you again!
Dying Fetus will be releasing new album "Reign Supreme" this coming June 19th, 2012 via Relapse Records. The band will also be hitting the road throughout the entire summer, icluding an appearance at Maryland Death Fest as well as the "18 Nights of Blood Tour" in North America with label mates Revocation and Six Feet Under.
Just across the causeway from Singapore sits the Malaysian “small town” of Johor Bahru, though its population of nearly 1.5 million shows us just how the Western definition of “small town” differs from that of deepest, densest Asia. Thanks to its proximity to the Lion City, just about an hour’s drive away including the time it takes to cross the border on a good day, JB presents a great opportunity for bands touring in Asia to cross another country off their list of places played without traveling too far, and to get an excellent introduction to the Malaysian scene. Here are three hardworking bands currently plying their trade in the southern gateway to the Malay Peninsula. More...
The month of May marks a couple of pivotal moments in the history of one of America's most classic power/thrash bands, Metal Church. It was in May of 1984 that the band played its first gig at the D&R Theatre in Kurdt Vanderhoof's native Aberdeen, Washington. It was also in May, nearly seven years to the day, that the metal world lost one of its most iconic metal singers - original Metal Church vocalist David Wayne. In this homage to the Seattle band, we will look at the history of this venerable old school band and how it ties in with so many other acts while fulfilling its history. We will also bring you the rich history that Metal Church and all of its offshoots have lived through. Because, with Metal Church there is six degrees of separation from several other groups.
Back in the late seventies, Aberdeen's son Kurdt Vanderhoof was living in the San Francisco bay area. He played for a hardcore punk band by the name of The Lewd. As he started listening to the early prototypes of the British invasion of metal, he had an epiphany. Kurdt decided he'd rather start playing metal music, so he began talks with a few of the members of another San Francisco act - Leviathan. Together they formed Anvil Chorus - The Church of Metal, later shortening it. The rest of Leviathan left and formed Vienna. More...
Steven Adler (ex-Guns N’ Roses) is back with his new band named Adler and a new single titled “The One You Hated.” The band insists that the band is about a man/woman relationship and not what we all assume: heroin. Of course, I guess it could be about Axl Rose as well, or maybe the song is about Steven from the mindset of Celebrity Rehab’s Dr. Drew. Either way you look at it, Steven has an impressive memory catalog to pull inspiration from… More...
Colombia just might be one of the forefathers of the extreme metal scene and it may have influenced some of the most nihilistic groups to come out of Europe. Yes, this South American land of extremes may have been one of the catalysts for the Scandinavian scene, ushering in a whole horde of sick and twisted metal bands. You may think that's an incredulous statement to make and a mighty tall order, but wait. There's a true story I am going to recount for you now.
Back in 1992, a few Colombian metal fans/musicians went up from Stavanger, Norway to a record shop in Oslo owned by Oystein Aarseth (better known as Euronymous). As they were going through the releases, they struck up a conversation with Euronymous about the country they were from, black metal in general and their respective bands. Euronymous became animated and said "Two bands from your city of Medellin influenced Mayhem's sound."
"Parabellum and Reencarnacion were a few of the true bands that shaped us. They captured a hellish environment and represented a true hardcore, evil sound that we emulated in the band."
Spoken by Euronymous himself a year before he died in infamy, and put in Spanish on the liner notes of the 2005 compilation "Tempus Mortiis" put out by Blasfemia Records. This anthology featured Parabellum, a nihilistic affair redolent in that evil backwards riffing that characterized the band. Songs such as "Engendro 666" and "Madre Muerta" influenced Mayhem and other Norwegian bands and helped create a whole genre of evilness, blasphemy and sickos.
At the time, neither Parabellum nor Reencarnacion were satanists, but critiqued Christianity and Catholicism and played an early prototype of metal that predated the "black" genre in 1981 (with the exception of Venom) and was called "ultra" metal or "anti-technical" metal in Colombia since it was raw and primitive musicianship. Kreator, Beherit and Impaled Nazarene have also paid homage to them in one form or another. More...